Ionizers are flooding the market, accompanied by some spectacular statements about the magical air-purification quality they bring to your homes and cars.
You’re getting massively expensive air purifiers that are providing Ionizers as part of their “new” and “improved” features.
A host of tiny, USB-powered Ionizers are coming in for cars while companies are manufacturing Ionizer-based air purification units.
And the level of marketing and propaganda that follows the technology is luring poor customers into buying something that is essentially destroying their lives!
Overdramatic you say?
Let’s take a closer look at it before you reach your judgement.
How do Ionizers Work?
Let’s begin with a simple thing – ionizers are devices that disperse positive and negative ions into the air.
These ions attach themselves to Particulate Matter or PM (not Volatile Organic Compounds).
Eventually, the ionizer pulls these ‘charged’ PM through their filtration system, which consists of a positive and a negative flat-plate.
So the positively charged PM stick to the negatively charged plate and… you get the idea!
To “recharge” the plates, you simply pull them out and wipe them down.
Now the question is, how do Ionizers generate these negative and positive ions for dispersion?
Most Ionizers contain what is called an Ion Generator, which uses a corona discharge or UV light to produce these ions.
If you read the words “Ion Generator” without reading the words “Collection Plates” – RUN!!!
It basically means, the Ionizer is charging the particulate matter in air and not filtering them out – they are simply stuck to your walls, furniture, fabrics, etc. – these products are labelled as “Ionic“!
What that means is – normally, if you have PM floating around in indoor air, ventilation pushes them out, bringing new PM in with the new air that’s circulating into your indoor space.
However, with charged PM pollutants sticking to your walls and fixtures, there’s nothing that ventilation can do to dislodge them so you are essentially making your car or home more polluted!
So “Collection Plates” are absolutely necessary – without that, you are just poisoning yourself quicker!
But these aren’t the Actual Problems with Ionizers!
The biggest cause of concern, if you are using an ionizer, is the production of Ozone!
Ozone (as we have discussed in detail in “Ozone isn’t always Good“) is a poisonous gas that causes chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation, amongst other terrible things.
Essentially, charging PM with voltage across a volume of air creates imbalances in the voltage of the entire air-volume as a whole, which leads to production of Ozone in varying degrees.
People with Asthma or allergies really begin to suffer at this point because indoor-air quality starts dropping rapidly.
There are ionizers out there that make claims about trying to reduce Ozone production – still believeable.
However, if you ever read an Ionizer’s product description that says it does not produce Ozone, or refrains from mentioning the ‘O’ word… RUN!!!
Is it Worth Buying an Ionizer?
If you don’t have Asthma or allergies, and aren’t feeling the immediate effect of sitting in an Ozone filled car or room, here are 10-things (finally) about Ionizers that you should know:
- Ionizers only capture Particulate Matter above 10 microns or PM10. They do not affect PM2.5 at any level
- Ionizers release Ozone into the air! Ozone production is the biggest and most well-documented side-effect of Ionizers. Ozone poisons you – plain and simple!
- Ionizers do not affect Volatile Organic Compounds like Chlorine, Bromine, Ozone, Nitrous Oxides, Sulphur Dioxide, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene, Acetaldehyde or any of the 200-other chemicals, toxins and carcinogens that are present in the air you breathe!
- Ionizers with collection plates have means of collecting the PM10 they are charging. They still have to be cleaned and depending on where you are cleaning them & how, you might be releasing them back into the air you’re breathing
- Ionizers without collection plates are a waste of money – buy them only if you are suicidal!
- Ionizers require regular maintenance so anything without removable collection plates is useless. Remember, its “collection plates“, with an ‘s‘ at the end – as in plural – for positive AND negative charges. One plate cannot hold both charges
- Ionizers may have an effect on mental health – including depression and anxiety. Exposure to negative-ions has been known to cause these mental ailments.
- If an Air Purifier contains an Ionizer without an Activated Charcoal Filter – DON’T BUY IT! When Ozone is produced by your Ionizer, at least your Activated Charcoal Filter can adsorb it. If your air purifier doesn’t have an Activated Charcoal Filter, it’s essentially just producing Ozone and not removing it
- Ionizers are advertised as devices that improve allergy symptoms. There is absolutely no scientific basis or proof behind this! Ionizers might be able to remove some PM, but they are ineffective against pollen, dust or allergen particles!
- Ionizers have shown some benefits in reducing or controlling infection transmission in medical facilities. They were seen to reduce infection-causing bacteria on plastic medical equipment in a 2010-study (on BMC Infectious Diseases).
In essence, there are plenty of problems associated with Ionizers – enough to prompt any sane individual to stop considering them as any kind of air-purification solution!
You have to be a little screwed up in the head to buy a standalone Ionizer, something without an Activated Charcoal filter, and you are definitely mental to buy an Ionizer without a Collection Plate.
If you want to get rid of particulate matter, get an HEPA filter-equipped air purifier.
For the Ozone-flooding your Ionizer may have already caused, please get an activated charcoal purifier, preferably something natural.
Do you know why Ionizers are used in so many air purifiers and air conditioners?
They sound important and are dirt-cheap to implement!
Understand the science and make an informed decision – and you will keep your family, friends and loved ones safe and secure for longer.
You can thank us later!